FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line
83chap.IIFukushima Medical University Record of Activities [Notes and Messages]FUKUSHIMA: Lives on the Line- Protecting the evacuees from Economy Class SyndromeThe Great East Japan Earthquake was truly unprecedented. My deepest sympathy goes out to the families of those who perished. The entire FMU campus is wrestling with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami as well as the radiation problems from the nuclear power plant accident. In these trying circumstances, we have assembled an Advanced Medical Emergency Response Team in order to deliver more specialized care to the disaster area and the evacuees, in addition to the emergency medical care that is also being provided.In particular, the incidence of thrombosis in veins of the lower extremities as well as accompanying pulmonary embolism is increasing in survivors of Japan’s earthquake. Also called “Economy Class Syndrome,” this ailment can be fatal. As part of the Advanced Medical Emergency Response Team, we in the Economy Class Syndrome Medical Team have obtained four portable ultrasound machines. We are able to screen a large number of disaster victims, mainly those in the evacuation shelters, and detect and treat at an early stage the deep vein thrombosis that can lead to pulmonary embolism. Our goal is to prevent any secondary victims in the aftermath of the earthquake.At present, we have screened over 1,000 people. 10% of those screened showed signs of deep vein thrombosis. This figure is 3–5% higher than that seen after previous earthquakes. Being able to initiate early treatment for the larger blood clots discovered—those that can lead to pulmonary embolism—has been an extremely fortunate outcome.Those living in the evacuation shelters will have to stay there for some more time. Moreover, the numbers of those in the shelters will actually increase as some evacuees return to the area from far afield. We would like to do all we can to continue our efforts to allow no secondary victims of the disaster and to lead prevention efforts and early detection for Economy Class Syndrome.Preventing Economy Class SyndromeThree Vital Precautions1) Do not sleep in your car Keeping your body in the same position for a long period of time promotes blood clots. Clots can develop in as little as four hours.2) Walk around Regularly exercise your ankles.3) Stay hydrated It can be difficult to reach a bathroom, but that should absolutely not dissuade people from drinking water. Women in particular should take caution.(Team Leader of the Economy Class Syndrome Medical Team; part of the FMU Advanced Medical Emergency Response Team)I would like to express my heartfelt condolences for everyone affected by this Earthquake.After the earthquake, I worked under the guidance of Professor Hosoya to assess the situation, in terms of pediatric care, at each evacuation shelter. I helped to bring milk and diapers to the places that were low on supplies, and where needed, visited the shelters to examine children. I noticed that there were children playing happily at the evacuation shelters, despite the fact that it was just after a major earthquake disaster. However, there were also children who cried at night and whose character changed, making them much more dependent than before. The earthquake had a mental impact, leaving its mark on the children who lived through it.For this reason, the pediatric response is currently shifting from medical care and delivery of supplies right after the quake to more mental health care for the children. Although my efforts are extremely meager, I would like to work as hard as I can to offer support.Activities after the EarthquakeYuusaku AbeGraduate Student, Department of PediatricsWe Won't Allow Any “Secondary Victims” of the Great East Japan Earthquake!Shinya TakaseLecturer, Department of Cardiovascular SurgeryI am grateful to everyone who has kept us going!